Rising up through the Ranks

Sanika Gurav discusses how playing badminton started as a hobby, but with the right level of coaching, she has started approaching competitions with single-minded determination while collecting gold along the way.

Sanika Gurav recently participated in the SPARC Yonex UAE Badminton Gold Junior Championship 2018, held in Sharjah from 29 November to 3 December, making it through to the finals which were held on 7 December. The event was a UAE national level badminton ranking tournament sanctioned by UAE Table Tennis and Badminton Association (UAETTBA) and Sanika achieved gold medals in the girls’ singles under 17 and girls’ doubles under 15 categories.

The Jumeirah College student, now in Grade 8, started playing badminton as a hobby in one of the nearby academies when she was 10 years old. After one year of coaching and she was keen to play competitively.

By 11 she started entering competitions but found it difficult to progress to each different round. However, after three years of coaching she has a better understanding of the mental preparation required, as well as other aspects of the competition.

She currently attends two to three hours of coaching five days a week, and her training schedule can increase to six days a week as she approaches competitions.

Sanika says that Dubai has created many opportunities for young badminton players. The first BWF Junior Badminton Championship was recently held in the UAE, providing a golden opportunity to players to participate. Competitors came from different countries giving Sanika valuable exposure to competing against different players, winning the semi-finals of the under 15 singles category as well as winning the doubles under 15 category with her partner.

“I have learned that it is not all about winning but giving your best and each step teaches me to perform better. I have received great support from my coaches and parents. It is a long journey towards success, and I am fully determined and committed to give my best to each competition,” Sanika says.